Political Science 493
1. Catalog Entry
Credit hours (3)
Prerequisite: Junior/Senior standing and permission of the instructor
Examines the basics of appellate procedure and argument. Emphasis on critical thinking and communication skills. Students in this class may choose to participate in Moot Court competition. Satisfies capstone requirement for the Law, Society, and Justice concentration.
2. Detailed Description of Course
In Moot Court students work on the filing of an appeal in a hypothetical case, methods of constitutional and statutory interpretation at the appellate level, learning how to analyze cases in the way lawyers need to, identify holdings, synthesize (or reconcile) several cases on a certain issue, and then prepare briefs and develop oral arguments. Students in this class may choose to participate in Moot Court competition with the permission of the instructor.
3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
Lecture, discussion, group work, student research, legal writing, and oral presentations during Moot Court simulation. The focus in Moot Court will be on the appellate process and constitutional law.
Specific topics include:
1) Standards of review
2) Reviewing material facts
3) Legal research and analysis
4) Case analysis
5) Reviewing decisions of the Virginia Court of Appeals
6) Case synthesis, and
7) Preparation of oral argument
4. Goals and Objectives of the Course
Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1) Identify the relevant facts in a case.
2) Identify the rule(s) of law applied to the case.
3) Analyze the Court’s reasoning, both the majority and minority opinions.
4) Synthesize the holdings of multiple cases on an issue, and develop a rule of law that encompasses all the
cases and reconciles their differences.
5) Apply that rule of law to a new case or controversy and determine how a court should rule and why.
6) Articulate their position, including an analysis of the instant matter, by preparing a brief. The brief will
articulate why case precedent supports their position. It will explain how prior cases are similar or
7) Orally argue their position and respond to questions from the Bench.
5. Assessment Measures
Essays, quizzes, individual and group projects, motions and arguments, participation in class discussions.
6. Other Course Information
Review and Approval
June 20, 2015